Academic Update for Instructors - 1/20

January 20, 2021

The past ten months have been challenging for all of us. Your remarkable efforts to support our students have had a tremendous impact — preliminary earned credit hour and grade point average data show student outcomes from fall semester demonstrate high levels of adaptability, resiliency, and student success. Thank you for everything you have done to help our students achieve their academic goals.

Here are some updates and reminders as we begin spring courses next week. As you know, the Safer Community app and Wellness Attendants are new initiatives to protect our campus from COVID-19 this semester. Students have been encouraged to plan ahead and arrive early at classroom buildings, but this isn’t always possible, especially when they have back-to-back classes. Please give students some grace during the first week if they are a little late to class while everyone gets used to the Safer Community status checks.

Also, make sure to check Academics at Nebraska at @UNLacademics on Twitter and for news and updates throughout the semester.

Included in this email:

  • Pass/No Pass and Withdraw Deadline Extensions – new
  • Attendance and Engagement Expectations Guidance – new
  • Study Spaces Updated for Spring Semester – new
  • Temporary Curricular Adjustments for Spring – reminder
  • Update Library Catalog Links Before Spring Semester Begins – reminder
  • Spring Open Updates – reminder
  • Clear Face Coverings Available – reminder

Pass/No Pass and Withdraw Deadline Extensions

At the request of ASUN and with the endorsement of Faculty Senate, the deadlines to change a spring course to Pass/No Pass or to withdraw have been extended by two weeks to allow students more time to make important decisions about their classes during the condensed calendar. The new deadline to change a course to Pass/No Pass is March 26 and to withdraw is April 16. No other policies related to these two deadlines have changed and tuition refund dates remain the same.

Make sure to review the spring calendar for all key deadlines and revised dates including the shortened "Fifteenth Week" preparation for finals April 29 – May 1.

Attendance and Engagement Expectations Guidance

Faculty Senate has extended their fall course attendance and engagement expectations guidance through the spring and summer semesters.

Study Spaces Updated for Spring Semester

Study spaces on campus for students to attend Zoom classes, access remote course materials, and collaborate on small group projects while staying safe and physically distant have been updated for the spring semester. Students can drop into areas listed at on a first-come-first-served basis. In addition, the University Libraries has study spaces listed on its website and the university has a WiFi outdoor map for students who want to study outside.

Temporary Curricular Adjustments for Spring

Faculty Senate is supporting temporary adjustments in academic workloads during the spring semester to allow for less intense periods of study. These adjustments include possible reading days or a testing holiday. Faculty Senate is also asking instructors to identify any curricular adjustments that would promote self-care and the university’s wellness resources. The complete resolution is available on the Faculty Senate website.

Update Library Catalog Links Before Spring Semester Begins

University Libraries debuted its new library catalog and discovery tool before the holiday break. Instructors should review and replace all links to library resources and embedded materials included in spring courses that include or in the URL. Subject librarians are available to support instructors as they navigate these changes. Updated training materials for users will also be available on the Libraries' website and discoverable in the Canvas Commons.

Spring Open Updates

The university continues to offer a variety of policies to protect the campus community from the virus. These include our face covering policy, revised Cornhusker Commitment, and Wellness Attendant building access. A list of continued, updated and new policies is available on the COVID-19: Nebraska Responds website.

Clear Face Coverings Available

According to CDC guidance, face shields are not acceptable alternatives to cloth face coverings unless they include a bottom or drape that provides fully enclosed coverage for the face and neck. The Executive Vice Chancellor’s Office has disposable clear plastic face coverings for instructors that are available for pick up in 208 Canfield South between 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.